Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In My Mailbox 5

Last week I got a bit overwhelmed with all the books I bought at the used bookstore and never got around to posting the books I bought and received in the mail. I'm going to skip any that I already reviewed and only list ones that I still have to read and review. All images and descriptions were taken from and all of these titles are currently available for sale there.

These are books that I received in the mail to be reviewed:

Reasons by Tracy Fabre

Product Description
Delphi Brent, seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident as a teenager, is ready to spend the summer with old family friends when her parents make a distressing confession: the driver of the car that nearly killed her was one of the three sons of the Laughlin family she's about to visit. They urge her to stay home and let the past be, but she resolves to go out West anyway to learn the truth about what happened the night she was struck and one of the Laughlin sons died. However, in reconnecting with the Laughlins, who operate a sprawling ranch in Colorado, Delphi learns a lot not only about brothers and families, but also about the reasons people keep secrets, and what to do with the truth once it's uncovered. She also falls in love with one of the Laughlin brothers, and that wasn't part of the plan at all.

Beyond Blue by Theresa Borchard

Product Description
Therese Borchard may be one of the frankest, funniest people on the planet. That, combined with her keen writing abilities has made her Beliefnet blog, Beyond Blue, one of the most trafficked blogs on the site.

BEYOND BLUE, the book, is part memoir/part self-help. It describes Borchard's experience of living with manic depression as well as providing cutting-edge research and information on dealing with mood disorders. By exposing her vulnerability, she endears herself immediately to the reader and then reduces even the most depressed to laughter as she provides a companion on the journey to recovery and the knowledge that the reader is not alone.

Comprised of four sections and twenty-one chapters, BEYOND BLUE covers a wide range of topics from codependency to addiction, poor body image to postpartum depression, from alternative medicine to psychopharmacology, managing anxiety to applying lessons from therapy. Because of her laser wit and Erma Bombeck sense of humor, every chapter is entertaining as well as serious.

This book I bought for myself for a fun, fast read for Christmas:

At Home in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller

Product Description
Everyone in Ashley O'Ballivan's life is marrying and starting families—except her. But what date can compare to Jack McCall, the man who broke her heart years ago?
And now he's mysteriously back. But he isn't who she thinks he is.

After a dangerous mission working for the DEA, security expert Jack McCall rents a room in Ashley's bed-and-breakfast. For her sake, he must keep his distance. But his feelings for her are so powerful that only his heart remains off-limits. To protect her—from his enemies and himself—he has to leave…vowing to fight his way home to her and Stone Creek forever.

These books I found at the dollar store and they each interested me enough that I decided to take a chance on them:

700 Sundays by Billy Crystal Review
Actor and comedian Billy Crystal has forged a highly successful career by portraying other people in movies like When Harry Met Sally… and City Slickers. But in 700 Sundays, a memoir based on his one-man Broadway play of the same name, Crystal tells his own story, dissecting an often complex relationship with his father and how that relationship resonated in other aspects of his life. His father, Jack Crystal was an influential jazz concert promoter and operated an influential jazz record label, affording his son an opportunity to tell stories of being taken to his first movie by Billie Holliday and seeing his grandmother suggest that Louis Armstrong simply "try coughing it up." But Jack died when his son was fifteen years old, soon after a forever-unresolved argument between the two, leaving Billy to cope with crushing grief while simultaneously and perhaps ironically trying to launch a career in comedy. This lends 700 Sundays much needed gravity in a volume that is packed with zingy one-liners and whimsical observations that serve to illustrate the comedy career Crystal forged, while also providing some decent laughs. Interestingly, there is very little reference to the better known accomplishments of Crystal’s Hollywood career as the author chooses to focus instead on the seemingly mundane but highly entertaining aspects of his Long Island roots. Though 700 Sundays (the name comes from Crystal’s estimation of how many Sundays he got to spend with his father) is packaged here in book form, it reads like a piece of theater and, more specifically, like a selection of memories about a father, lovingly and touchingly re-told by his loving son. --John Moe --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Train Wreck

Product Description
She was the most outlandish, outrageous, in-your-face symbol of the age - and suddenly, shockingly, she was gone.
In life,her antics, adventures and behavior kept a nation riveted; in death she stunned a world gripped by the surprise and swiftness of her unexpected passing. Had she ever bothered with a resume it would have been laughably improbable: Krispy Fried Chicken waitress, K-Mart cashier, stripper, Playboy's Playmate of the Year, actress in a Paul Newman film, and spokesperson for Guess? jeans. She was a walking contradiction: often weighing over 140 pounds yet paid to represent a weight-loss pill; illiterate but paid to be a columnist for an American tabloid; she was demeaned and laughed at, yet the Bush administration sent its top lawyer to file a brief on her behalf in her fight for her husband's mega millions. At her death she may have beenon the brink of inheriting between $90 million and $450 million, yet she had lived on the edge of bankruptcy. The woman was, of course, Anna Nicole Smith. We were fascinated by her 10-year court battle for her late husband's estate, her fluctuating breast size, the birth of her daughter, the tragic death of her son three days later, the paternity suits against her, as well as her eviction from her ex-boyfriend's house in the Bahamas. Her life read like a soap opera script too incredible to be believed; while she lived there was always a surprise lurking at every corner, and her death came as the ultimate, astounding twist. This is the story of the little girl from west of nowhere, born into a broken, dysfunctional, dirt-poor family, told by the one woman who knew her best.

A mother at 18, with little education, she faced the same hardscrabble life as all her relatives. Her fierce resolve, pluck, luck and determination allowed her to claw her way to celebrity status,becoming a tabloid staple, and to reach the potential of unimaginable wealth. And then, in a moment, she was gone, not yet 40 years old. A Horatio Alger story with a bitter ending, TRAIN WRECK- The Life and Death of Anna Nicole Smith, is the definitive story of the rise and swift fall of one of the most compelling characters to blaze across the American sky.

Making it Up

From Publishers Weekly
In this engrossing, perverse challenge to genre—"an anti-memoir"—Booker Award novelist Lively (Moon Tiger, 1987) explores the road not taken. What if her family, evacuating Egypt during WWII, had traveled to South Africa rather than Palestine? What if a date that ended chastely had led to unwed motherhood? What if her husband-to-be had been captured in Korea? What if that other Penelope had taken up with Achilles? What if Lively, who eventually became a writer, had, as a student, gone on an archeological dig? "This book is fiction," Lively warns. The narratives are inventions, rendered by an omniscient voice, framed by brief, evocative autobiographical passages, and peopled by non-Penelopes. Lively achieves "the authenticity of fiction" in their credibility, but she lived none of these alternative lives. Writers and would-be writers will be intrigued to observe the transformation of life into literature. Readers may enjoy wrestling with questions of choice and chance in human affairs, or they may settle for a series of neatly crafted tales. The vividly imagined lives stir up questions far more thought provoking than the simple "what if?" As Lively so elegantly demonstrates, "The paths do not so much fork as flourish."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Love is a Mix Tape

From Booklist
Sheffield was a "shy, skinny, Irish Catholic geek from Boston" when he first met Renee. Southern born and bred, "she was warm and loud and impulsive." They had nothing in common except a love of music. Since he made music tapes for all occasions, he and Renee listened together, shared tapes, and though never formally planning to, married. On May 11, 1997, everything changed. He was in the kitchen making lunch. Suddenly, she collapsed, dying instantly of a pulmonary embolism. Devastated, he quickly realized that he couldn't listen to certain songs again, and that life as he knew it would never be the same. Fun and funny, moving and unbearably sad, Sheffield's account at its quirkiest, and because of his penchant for lists, is reminiscent of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity (1995). Anyone who loves music and appreciates the unspoken ways that music can bring people together will respond warmly to this gentle, bittersweet reflection on love won and love irrevocably lost. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Talk to the Hand

A Note from Lynne Truss

Dear Amazon customer and fellow stickler,

There’s an odd thing I’m finding about my new book, Talk to the Hand. The moment I start describing it to people ("Basically, it’s about the rudeness of everyday life – "), they jump straight in with stories about all the rudeness they’ve encountered in the past ten years. When I was trying to tell people about punctuation, engaging their attention was a victory. Well, not this time. "And another thing!" they say, banging the table. "What about cell phones? What about cold callers?" I make a feeble stab at outlining my six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door, also my theory of the alienation of modern life, which is that fundamentally we expect to be met half-way in our dealings with strangers and are continually shocked that this courtesy no longer pertains – but who am I kidding? I never get further than the first good reason (the decline of "please", "thank you", and "excuse me") because people are agreeing so vehemently, and I’m saying "Absolutely" and "You’re right" and "Actually, some of this is in the book." The thing is: there is nothing original in being against rudeness. Everyone is against rudeness. In fact, very, very rude people object to it strongly. But why does it matter to us so much? Are we so scared of other people? Why do we spend so much of our time saying, "Oh, that’s so RUDE"? All I can say is, you could find out from reading the book! But if you'd rather not, best wishes to all sticklers.

The Prayer of Jabez

Oddly Amazon did not have a description of this one.


  1. Looks like you had some great finds! I love when they have good books like that at the dollar store. Train Wreck looks like it will be really interesting! Enjoy and happy holidays to you!

  2. It's funny, but Train Wreck is the one that jumped out at me the most too.

  3. So I still haven't read any of my dollar store finds. i guess it's not really a bargain if you never use it. I just have too many books and always find more that I want to read! Don't see that changing any time soon either.

  4. I've read four of these now. There is a fifth that I read before so I don't know if I want to count it or not. Funny how it seemed like I had to buy them then and it has been years and some of them are still just sitting around!